Marrakech Photography Locations
Magical Marrakech is an overwhelming adventure for your senses. Flying in you’ll see the red city sitting amongst the red desert sands with the snowy capped Atlas Mountains hovering along the horizon. It’s one of the most accessible culture shocks you can experience and having visited three times now, I’m completely in awe of every single inch of this amazing city.
To photograph Marrakech you need at least three days to soak up the atmosphere, explore the cultural sites and get lost in the hidden alleyways of the souks within the medina walls.
Here are my tips for the best places to photograph in Marrakech:
#1 Ben Youssef Medersa
Nestled near the Museum of Marrakech, this is an unexpected marvel to photograph. Once home to students who learnt Islamic scripture and law, the carved wooden hallways and intricately tiled walls are now open to the public. The great courtyard a peaceful and serene place with a water feature that works wonders for reflection photographs.
#2 Koutoubia Mosque
Visible from near and far, the Mosque’s minaret stands at 77m tall and you’ll find it quickly becomes your compass during a stay in Marrakech. Still an active place of worship, non-muslims can’t enter but wandering around the gardens and sitting in the plaza at sunset will uncover a hive of activity to photograph against the glowing orange walls.
A visit to Marrakech isn’t complete without getting lost amongst the maze of the medina and its souks. Rue Semarine and Rue Mouassine are the two main routes toward Djeema el Fna (the main square) but let your senses take over and follow their lead into a world of magical scenes. A gentle sunlight trickles through the walkways and creates an atmospheric environment to photograph.
To experience Marrakech in its most historic and pungent state you must visit the tannery district. Find a young boy holding sprigs of mint (he will no doubt find you looking like a lost tourist first) and he’ll guide you to his father or uncles tannery where an older guide will then takeover and explain the process of curing the animal hides and making leather. The catch is that they’ll then take you to their leather store and shower you with purchasing option but you aren’t forced to buy…to avoid this arrange an official guide via your Riad or hotel.
#5 The El Badii Palace
The El Badii Palace is an immense royal structure of the Saadian era meaning ‘The incomparable palace’. Now looking a lot less triumphant than in its golden days, the palace is in ruin however remains an amazing place to photograph amongst the palace walls, inner court and below in the tunnels. Also this is the best place to photograph the giant stalks that nest on the palace walls…it’s like a children’s fairytale come to life although they usually carry sticks not babies.
#6 Jardin de Majorelle
Designed in the 1920s and 1930s by French artist Jacques Majorelle, these lush gardens are a welcome escape amidst the heat and bustle of Marrakech city with bamboo and cacti. Yves Saint-Laurent has owned the garden since 1980 and now his personal collection of North African textiles is housed in the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech which is located within the garden in an electric blue building.
And to conclude… you must find a rooftop!
You’ll find most riads (traditional hotels) have private rooftop terraces from where you can photograph sunset over the city however if you’re willing to share your view you can order a Mint Tea and sit on the terrace of Café de France overlooking the circus that is the Djeema el Fna as the sun sets. Combining the colours of the city with the sky at sunset and the smoke of Djeema el Fna, this is the perfect place to capture Marrakech as it comes alive. The photographs below are of minarets in the distance all visible from Café de France.
Where to stay in Marrakech?
To get the complete experience of Moroccan culture and design, stay in a riad, you won’t regret it.
Riads are found all over Marrakech, in fact there’s so many it can be really, really hard to decide which one will suit you best.
Having visited Marrakech three times, I’ve now got three favourite riads and you’ll find them listed below.
Riad Alwachma – amazing location right near the Koutoubia Mosque but also great for entering the souks. Run by a lovely French couple, the riad has a beautiful rooftop terrace, perfect for drinking mint tea and eating breakfast.
Riad Diana – located between Djeema el Fna and Palace el Badii, this riad is comfortable and beautifully decorated.
Riad Utopia Suites & Spa – Luxurious and affordable, this riad is located in a quieter area of the Medina, close to Medersa Ben Youssef and the Museum of Marrakech. There’s also a hammam and spa located within the complex!
If you’re into sharing on Pinterest here’s a pretty little photo…
Hello! I’m the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens.
With 17+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it’s useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.
January 17, 2015 at 11:02 am
You know, the Ben Youssef Medersa proved to be my photographic highlight of the city too. And there was some stiff competition! Good stuff Lisa.
January 30, 2015 at 4:36 am
Hey there! New visitor and fellow photographer! I LOVE your photography and super stoked about this particular post, since I’ll be in Morocco in October 🙂 🙂 I really feel like you captured the ambiance of the culture and location. 🙂 Can’t wait to pour over your blog today!
February 8, 2015 at 9:10 pm
Ahh Jenna you’re going to LOVE Morocco!! It’s seriously a photographers dream! Which cities are you visiting?
January 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm
Great blog post! This was exactly what I was looking for as I am an amateur photographer heading to Morocco for a wedding. Thanks for the tips!
January 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm
Great to hear Patrick! Are you photographing the wedding? A bride and groom standing against the red walls of Marrakech will look incredible!! Enjoy your trip and take lots of memory cards 🙂
March 19, 2018 at 11:53 am
My name is James Ramsay. I’m a Canadian cinematographer and will be in Morocco next month. Was wondering how safe is it to walk around Marrakech with my equipment?
MARIO E DEFERRARI
June 21, 2019 at 1:48 am
Hi Lisa, first I want to said your photos are superb.
My name is Mario Deferrari an I am going to travel Morocco September 2019.
Maybe if I don’t bother you and if is possible to tell me what 2 lens should carry. I have a Nikon D7100,
Lens I use 24-70mm 2.8, 16-85mm 3.5, 24-120 1:4G and 50mm 1.4
Lisa Michele Burns
June 24, 2019 at 2:36 am
Hi Mario, thanks so much! Exciting to hear you’re heading to Morocco. I’d suggest having a versatile zoom lens with you, something that covers a variety of focal lengths but isn’t too heavy to carry around if you’re planning on a lot of walking. The 24-120mm would probably be the best option size wise then perhaps the 16-85 or 50mm depending on if you’re after wider landscapes or details.
MARIO E DEFERRARI
June 26, 2019 at 2:34 am
Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it.
February 3, 2023 at 2:47 pm
Marrakesh is one of the most unique cities I’ve ever visited. Loved the ancient bazaar and the Old City. Ahh, the colors and the smells of Marrakesh!